fetch and catch!

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Our dogs do not fetch the newspaper.  They do not deliver your fuzzy slippers, nor do they catch the ball.  Throw a soft rubber ball for them to run after to retrieve and you’ll get a look that says, “you want me to do what?”  Under their dog breath I hear a mumbled doggy version of:  “Pendejo, you threw it, you go get it!” Toss a stick up ahead as you’re walking,  it will go completely ignored.  Fling a frisbee and it will become part of the landscape.  Labs, Retrievers, Setters, they all love the game of fetch and catch.  Tirelessly.  Endlessly.  Dolce and Amore – NOT!  Not even close!

What they will run after is another pooch pursuing the thrown object.  Throw some balls and immediately the other visiting mutts sprint over to play. Throw a stick, and Amore and Dolce will run after the dog running after the stick. The game is in following the other canines, not racing after the ball.  We’ll take the girls to our dog park, lob some tennis balls their way and they’ll sit at our feet watching us, their heads cocked at an angle, inquiring with a puzzled look, “wha’cha doing?”   As soon as another dog moseys’ over for some fun, the girls perk up, ready to chase the some tail.  Much more fun than chasing a ball!

They will however chase after food.  Chuck an apple twenty yards and Dolce is on it.  Pitch some broccoli out in the field and it’s a race to grab it first.  Drop a bread crumb and it doesn’t even hit the floor, gone and gobbled before you can bend down to pick it up.  The one and only ball they will fetch and catch is a meatball!  Lob, toss, fling, throw or drop a tasty, rolled meatball and it’s caught mid-air in one gulp, down the hatch and in the gullet.  Eyes alert and on the “ball”, they are ready for the next toss.  Ready to catch it!  Ready to race after it!  Ready to eat it!  Any kind of meatball, any kind of meat.  It’s the only fetch and  catch they’ll play!

Swedish Meatballs

Be careful not to drop any on the floor!

  • 1 lb. finely ground beef
  • 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup minced onions
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Mix together the above ingredients.  Gently roll into small 1″ to 1 1/2″  balls.  Brown in hot oil.  Add about 1/4 cup hot water.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve hot with slightly thickened pan gravy.

pool paw play

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It’s Memorial Weekend! The kickoff to summer!

Picnics and BBQ‘s, flip-flops and short shorts, watermelon and lemonade.  One of the best parts of Memorial weekend is our local community pool opens for the summer.  8:00 a.m. on Saturday the race is on to be the first in the pool.  Moms have a free babysitter for youngsters over 12 and an energy burner for those under.  It’s the summer hangout for teenagers and an outdoor tanning booth for the housewives of Santa Fe.  Tri-athletes in training, adult swimmers exercising.  You see everything – from bare bottom babies splashing around in the kiddies pool to the pursuit of the perfect cannon ball tidal wave.  Sunburned cheeks to darkly tanned leather skin.  Old men in speedos, old ladies in bikinis.

Malcolm and I swim laps in the evenings when the kids have been called home for dinner.  75 feet of clear blue water, heated to just above chilly. It’s the perfect time to unwind from work and cool down from a hot day.  Most of the water brats have left, their forgotten pool toys and towels littered around the chairs and loungers to be found the next day.  Those remaining are the serious swimmers, jumping in the pool for laps, leaving in their wet suits, a towel wrap over their neck.

The dogs know when they see our swim bags and beach towels, they are staying put, guarding the fort back home, except for Dog day.  At the end of the summer and the chlorine has been diluted to a low enough level , its Paw Play at the Pool.  Dogs of all sizes, shapes and breeds converge at the pool for their own brand of fun.  And, it’s a wet time for all.  Excited dogs jumping in the deep end chasing tennis balls, even more incited dogs barking at waves of water splashing at their paws.  Once dry owners snapping pictures of their happy dogs. Total chaos.  Pure mayhem.  Wet dog everywhere. 

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HOMEMADE GEORGIA PEACH ICE CREAM

A perfect summer treat!

  • rock salt
  • ice (per manufacturer’s instructions)

Puree chopped peaches with the sugar and cream in the blender or food processor.

In a gallon ice cream freezer container, mix together the peach mixture, sweetened condensed milk and Kahlua.  Pour in enough whole milk to fill the contain to the fill line.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to freeze the ice cream.

“Yeah! babee!” Malcolm exclaims……. p.s.  Malcolm’s from Georgia!

the flirt

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Tiamo was a flirt – a big flirt!  She’d see a handsome male Berner and the Paris Hilton head-tilt and the come-hither look would appear.  Tail a-swishing, her prance became more pronounced and a certain gleam in eye would materialize each and every time a big studly cutie-paw-tootie was in the vicinity.

The first time I noticed her flirting she was around 9 months old.  I’d been walking Tiamo around the loop when another Berner owner drove by, stopping to talk shop as fellow BMD owners like to  do.  He had his boy with him and let him out of the car to introduce the two.  Shubert was a 4-year-old male rehab dog for the elderly, fit with a deep chest, massive paws and weighing a hefty 125 lbs., he was a poster child for Berner perfection.  Tiamo immediately took a shine to him, one look from Shubert and she fell in love.  She puffed out her chest, lifted up her tail and strutted over like a two-bit hooker on lower 4th Street showing off her wares.  Tiamo lay as close to Shubert as possible, rubbing shoulders, tail flicking, paws touching his, her head tilting.  As we wrapped up our conversation, Shubert loaded up into the car, ready to go –  Tiamo hopped in right behind him, scooting over to lean up against him.  She’d found herself a man and wasn’t going to let him go. It took me ten minutes to con/drag her out of the vehicle.

Never faithful for long, Tiamo moved on to greener pastures.  Her next love affair was with Gus, a Bernese from back east.  Gus was the kind of guy that tightened the kink in her tail.  One glance and Tiamo turned into a lit’le slut-puppy.  A cougar worth her salt, Tiamo liked her men young and Gus was younger by 10 months.  His swagger down pat, his moves slick as silk, Gus was a ladies man, a giglio, a smooth operator and had all the ladies panting.  Tiamo had met her match – she was one of many in a long line of lusting females. That dog was handsome plus!  Sparks ignited when the two were together, resulting in 8 puppies 60+ days later.  Yep, Gus fathered her beautiful children.  And, then left her.  A single mother, raising 8 kids alone, you would think Tiamo would learn her lesson.  Eleven months later, Tiamo was up to her old philandering ways…..

A couple of times a year, we bring the girls into the groomers’ for a wash, cut and curl.  We clip their bellies and their forearm feathers to keep the stickers and cockleburs to a minimum and it helps them stay cool in the hot summer months.  Tiamo, particularly, did not like the process, protesting immediately upon entering the door to the groomers’.  Her front paws put on the breaks, denying all forward movement into the establishment. She put her back paws in full reverse, madly scrambling to dodge her fate.  She ignored all commands to stop acting like a brat and to behave, seeking only escape.  She didn’t so much mind the bath as she did the clippers. She hated the clippers.  And she abhorred the colorful little bandana souvenir they tied around her neck at the end of the foray, trying to bite it off on the way home.  It got so bad, that we started bringing her in through the back door to minimize the damage to the store’s displays in the front – until the day she saw Owen.

Owen was a local male Berner, masculine and manly, he easily tipped the scales at 135 lbs.  That boy was one handsome dude and he ooooooozed sex.   Owen was already in the wash rack when I arrived with Tiamo at the back door, hoping upon hope she wouldn’t put up too much of a fuss as we entered.  One sniff and the game was up – Tiamo knew she had been duped into getting bathed and clipped.  A full-on Tiamo tantrum erupted.  She wasn’t going anywhere but back home.  Tiamo changed delaying tactics and dropped to the tiled floor, rolling over on her back, four paws in the air, she was dead weight, couldn’t be picked up, dragged, moved or maneuvered.    And then, out of the corner of her eye,  she saw Owen.  Her ears twitched, her eyes glowed with that familiar glint, drool droplets trickled from her lips, her tail curled into a constricted ringlet, it only took one sultry look for Tiamo to go ga-ga over him.  Miraculously, she spun upright, gave a little bitch shake, pulled her shoulders back, pushed her barreled chest out and pranced right up the ramp to her wash tub.  With a flick of her tail, Tiamo had a new man. Unapologetic, Tiamo gave me the signal to leave, she had this handled.   I quickly turned to leave.  Exiting out the door, I peeked back at the two love-birds.  Tiamo had jumped the tub’s railing and was skinny-dipping with Owen. I kept walking.

Thank gawd she’s been spayed.

Dog petting

mud

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Dog doors are a great invention and ours was one of the better remodel decisions Malcolm and I made…

When Tiamo was still a puppy, we added a large coyote-fenced enclosure that wrapped around the back of our New Mexican styled home.  Aesthetically pleasing for the neighborhood, it fit in with the landscape.  We carefully planned the gate placement, the amount of  shade provided by the Pinon trees growing around the perimeter and size of the pen around Tiamo’s needs.  The one thing we didn’t plan, was installing a dog door for entrance from the pen to the house.  Mistake number one – however a moot point since we only put Tiamo in the pen when we left for town and couldn’t bring her.  Tiamo’s new playground was over 1,800 square feet of soft sand and shade.  Made just for her – and she hated it!  She hated being left alone outside, barking excessively.  She hated being separated from us and most of all she hated knowing Thugs, our cat at the time, was indoors while she was suffering outdoors.  She dug deep holes under the gate and tunneled out to freedom, magically appearing at our back door to come inside.  She scratched, clawed and budged her way out through any opening she could find, bending the gate frame, ripping the wiring.   We added reinforcements, new gate latches, heavier gauged wire, and still Tiamo would find a way out.  One week after we christened our new dog pen addition, we abandoned it.  Tiamo happily trading the pen for all the comforts of pillows and couches found inside our home.

For two years Tiamo’s dog pen sat empty – until the puppies were born.  The pen was the perfect dog park for eight little pups to explore and discover their new life.  We would bring the kids out to the pen during the late hours of the afternoon, when the sun’s heat was less severe. Tiamo had finally accepted the pen, enjoying the fresh air as she tenderly watched over her rambunctious brood.  The little ones romped and tumbled for hours until we brought them back in to their make-shift pen set up in the garage.  Tired and exhausted, the puppies would settle into a fast sleep for the night. 

As each puppy left for their new life with their new caregivers, Malcolm and I came to the conclusion we needed to add a dog door to the pen for our remaining three; Tiamo, Amore and Dolce.  However, our careful planning of the pen placement several years past, failed to appoint a common wall for a dog door.  Mistake number two.  We concluded after a careful study of where to place the large rubber flap, to install the dog door in our bathroom’s linen closet.  I know, it sounds weird, but our thinking was (and still is) if there came a time when we needed to close off the dog door, we could re-install the linen shelves back in and the large, unsightly dog hole would  “disappear” behind bath towels and sheets.  Plus, we could close the closet door to keep the girls in or out depending on what we wanted.

Installation day was on a Friday, right around the first of July.   We wanted to have the door installed and finished before our Monsoon season started so the girls could come in out of the rain.  Training was easy.  A little nugget of ground hamburger was all it took to entice Tiamo through the opening, with Amore and Dolce  quickly following.  It wasn’t long before each dog was barreling through the flap looking for a meatball.    The girls immediately used the outdoors as they should, doing their duty discreetly outside.   No more getting up to let one of dogs out, no more waiting in the freezing cold as Dolce sniffed for the perfect spot, no more chasing after Amore as she sensed freedom.  Life was just made easier.

Five days later, the rains came. Blessed drops of liquid fell on our parched acreage.  Never lasting very long, the afternoon showers can alternate from a gentle pitter-patter to hard torments of destruction.  The dry land will soak up the moisture like a sponge, filling its cracks with water, letting the excess wash over into arroyos and gullies creating flash floods and hazards.  Not only do our summer storms bequeath us with fiery sunsets that paint the sky with vibrant colors, they also leave us with clay dirt that quickly becomes slick, clinging to our shoes, dragging your steps with the extra weight of the mud.  It was on a day such as this, that I came home from work to find mud, lots of mud, strewn from one end of the house to the other!  There were muddy paws prints in every room, every part of the house. On the sofa, on the bed, everywhere.  The girls came running to greet me, each with a wet, muddy underbelly, each filthy and dirty, mire and sledge oozing from their paws.  and each with a huge happy grin on their face.  The new dog door was a gateway to mud and muck.  Mistake number three!

Luckily, we have brick floors.  And, we have a house cleaner.

Dolce washed up after mud wrestling with Amore

Dolce washed up after mud wrestling with Amore

 

MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE

an ooey-gooey delicious mess!

  • 1 cup butter
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 6 oz Oreo cookies
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan.  

To prepare the crust:  place Oreo cookies, nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and process until fine crumbs are formed.  Add the melted butter and mix until just moistened.  Do not over process.  Press the cookie mixture over the bottom of the springform pan, pressing the mixture up the sides of the pan about 1 1/2 inches.  Cover and chill until filling is ready.

To prepare the filling:  add butter, chocolate, corn syrup in a medium sauce pan over low heat until melted together.  Let cool.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time and then the finely chopped Macadamia nuts.  Pour filling into the chilled crust and smooth the surface.  Bake for 30 minute or until just set but still soft in the center.  Let cool on a wire rack.

Serve a room temperature with homemade whipped cream.